It was recently brought to my attention that it is not proven that the Baby Bjorn carriers are harmful to spinal development. This is the link that was sent to me. While I am sure Dr. Kelly is an expert, there are always two sides to the story. Just like I question everything else, I will indeed question her. In my experience the doctor is not always right, expert or not.
While it is not proven to be harmful, it's also not proven that it is not harmful. I do stand behind my previous blog entry and I just wanted to share a few links with you.
Baby World (a website from the UK) states that "Some experts believe that wearing the wrong baby carrier can cause spondylolisthesis in your baby. Chiropractor Rochelle Casses says, "As we are finally realising the benefits of "wearing" our infants as we perform our daily activities, we must be careful not to compromise the integrity of our child's spine through the use of improper carriers. "Spondylolisthesis is a condition that can result in the low back from excessive stress, such as a baby's spine might experience in certain carriers on the market today. It is relatively uncommon, but when aggravated is extremely painful.
"If the trend continues to carry our infants in carriers (or place them in walkers, jumpers, etc.) that place our babies' spines in a weight bearing position before the spines is intended to do so, the percentage of spondylolisthesis will increase.""
The Baby Bjorn carriers put all the pressure on the babies crotch, which indeed puts pressure on their spine. They are essentially dangling with no other support. While spondylolisthesis is rare, it still happens, and even if it does not happen to your baby there is no evidence that there are no long term effects of using a Baby Bjorn.
Continuum Concept also talks about carriers and spinal stress. A paragraph on their site states " A baby's spine is placed in a compromising position in many of today's popular carriers. If the carrier positions the infant upright, with the legs hanging down and the bodyweight supported at the base of the baby's spine (i.e. at the crotch), it puts undue stress on the spine which can adversely affect the development of the spinal curves and, in some cases, cause spondylolisthesis." While the article was written in the 90's, the Baby Bjorn still carries babies with the legs hanging down and their weight supported in the crotch, so the information still applies.
There was a whole conversation going on about this issue at Mamapedia.
When it comes down to it the carrier you choose is just like every other parenting decision. The Baby Bjorn seems to be the #1 go to choice for many mainstream mamas, while other options such as Mei Tei's , ring slings, and carriers such as ERGO and Moby wrap are the preferred choice of the "crunchier" mamas. Just like I choose not to vaccinate based on my own research, I choose not to use the Baby Bjorn, also based on my own research. I want to provide information on all sides of the story, and not just biased opinions, so hopefully you can make your own informed decision. I have no ill will towards Baby Bjorn, but I don't promote the carrier.